BOOM – COVID Student Support Package
What was the BOOM? That was the Federal government dropping a $9 billion support package for post-secondary students. The support is designed to help students cope with the reality of their current employment prospects and continue with their education. The package as described on Canada.ca contains a laundry list of bullet points but essentially boils down to four major initiatives:
1. The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
Post-secondary students, including those who graduated in 2020 as well as those who are starting this fall, will qualify for monthly payments of $1,250 from May to August for a total of $5,000. Distribution will be done through the Canada Revenue Agency. Application details will be launched tomorrow. Expect these support payments to be taxable. However, given relatively low levels of income coupled with tax credits, many students will not have to worry about paying taxes.
Note: students who qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be better off under that plan than the CESB. It’s one or the other. No double-dipping.
2. Changes to the Canada Student Loans and Grants Program
The annual maximum grant will be increased from $3,000 to $6,000. Weekly loan limits will be increased from $210 to $350. Additionally, personal and spousal contributions have been removed from the eligibility calculations which will ensure more students can qualify.
3. Extended Support for Graduate Students
A one-semester extension of expiring scholarships and fellowships was announced. The government estimates this will help approximately 40,000 students. Cannot be combined with other income supports – again, no double-dipping.
4. The Canada Student Service Grant
From the Department of Finance backgrounder**: “A new national service initiative to recognize students’ significant contributions to the COVID-19 efforts, and provide support through a new Canada Student Service Grant which will provide up to $5,000 to support student’s post-secondary education costs in the fall.”
To be honest, I’m not clear on how this is going to be rolled out or what is meant by “significant contributions to the COVID-19 efforts”. I expect greater clarity when the government launches the “I Want to Help” platform. Expect this benefit to be taxable.
GUEST POST BY: Sara Tweedie
Full details on the CESB can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/emergency-student-benefit.html
Tip: Make sure you get your My Account set up as soon as you can and it launches tomorrow.